Since this is the last week of my year-by-year hit parades, I’m overindulging myself completely by posting my top 25 songs of last year. This’ll be good practice for making my list of my top albums of 2014.
Next week I shall reveal the true identity of Dark Metal Cat unless he gets me first with his very big paws and his very, very sharp claws.
Without preamble, herewith a foreword. This hit parade has been compiled in compliance with the principles of not using a preamble to introduce the methodology. The results were not audited by a big accounting firm in exchange for high-profile TV exposure.
Strangely, Black Metal Cat was playing his music at just about that exact moment. His new amp arrived on an Abnormal Load truck.
Platinum used to be the heaviest known metal that humans could handle safely. Denser metals tend to be radioactive. Iridium, which arguably has the highest specific gravity of the elements that doesn’t decay in fractions of a second, is toxic in its pure form.
I’ve discovered a new metal that can be as heavy as you want it to be. It’s called Mammalum. It seems to be just the right specific gravity to match whatever kind of metal I’m enjoying. I thought you should know that.
It must be true that opposites attract. I live in Africa in the summer swelter and winter mildness of Zululand, South Africa. It’s never snowed here. There’s never been frost. Yet so much of the music I love comes from the frozen north or is about the myths, legends and heroes from the top of Europe.
Maybe I have Viking blood. That is questionable, though, because I get seasick.
I don’t remember this song from 1998, the year it was released. We didn’t get this type of album in South Africa back then, partly because of low local demand and partly because the lyrics weren’t all in English. I was introduced to Falkenbach, this album – “Magni Blindinn Ok Megintiri” – and “Baldur’s Tod” in about 2004 by a fellow fanatical player of the “Baldur’s Gate” series of computer games. I’d written in our main gaming forum that I loved the theme music in the game. A guy from Greece, who turned out to be a folk metal devotee, said I should try real music about the legendary Baldur and he sent me this track as an MP3.
This track doesn’t have lyrics. That’s why he said it would have been a great theme for the game. Anyway, since then I’ve loved folk metal. Falkenbach have been doing it beautifully since 1996. Their 2013 “Asa” was one of my albums of the year.
From the agonising it required just to select an initial Top 60, I’d say 2013 was a damn good year for metal. We saw great bands from the past continuing to turn out fantastic albums. A surge of new bands across all genres arrived and pumped new interpretations and sheer skill into the metalsphere. Current and recent favourites lived up to their reputations and delivered outstanding work.
It won’t surprise my Metal State Of Mind colleagues that nearly half of my final Top 20 are progressive metal. At the same time it pleases me that my list includes eight different main genres. This is further proof that bands across the metal spectrum have been deliciously productive this year. Gauging by the various schedules of new albums on the way, 2014 is going to be another good vintage.
I’m not going to write anything about the individual albums on my list. As far as I’m concerned, the quality of all of them speaks much more eloquently than I can (and I’m a lazy Mammal). All I ask is that you accept I had special reasons for loving all of these albums, not just for the music but for sundry other reasons as well. They all struck special chords in the part of my head where other people have brains. Read the rest of this entry →